I made a very short visit to Laem Pak Bia with my family on 19 April. It was the first time for me to shoot with my new Canon 7D Mark II. We arrived at the area quite late in the morning and the light was getting really strong. We first stopped at the royal project where birds are seen and photographed easily just from our car. As usual, birds were abundant and we had a good time inside the project for several hours.
Interestingly, there were lots of Indian Cormorants inside the project as well as in the salt pans nearby. I remember when I first started birding 15 years ago, it was a scarce and very local bird. Now, it can be found in good numbers around the inner gulf of Thailand including Khok Kham and Laem Pak Bia area. We also found a non-breeding Spot-billed Pelican, another species that used to be extremely rare in Thailand but has recently recovered.
Another abundant bird in the project was the Javan Pond Heron. Most of them have moulted into breeding plumage. In a good day, you can actually tick all 3 species of pond herons found in Thailand here within the royal project. Unfortunately, it was not one of those days. We found a few Chinese Pond Herons but none Indian Pond Heron was found.
There were also many terns foraging in over the ponds inside the project. Most of them were Whiskered Terns with few White-winged Terns. It seems that White-winged Terns are more abundant offshore while Whiskered Tern is a bird of inland and coastal waters. Most of them have begun to moult into breeding plumage and were photographed easily while resting on wooden poles around the ponds.
We stayed inside the project until around 11am and then left as it was getting too hot and the heat wave was preventing us from getting any clear shot.
We made another very brief stop at a regular site for waders but there were not many waders left. Only a few Long-toed Stints, Curlew Sandpipers, Marsh Sandpipers and distant Spotted Redshanks were found. At least, the Long-toed Stints were coming really close to our car. We then left for lunch in Phetchaburi town and enjoyed the famous Khao-Chae (cooked rice in cold jasmine water), a dish best served in a hot summer day.